Celebrate Ontario Success Stories
The Celebrate Ontario program has helped festivals and events across the province offer new and enhanced experiences, attracting more tourists and increasing visitor spending. Last year's successes include:
Kemptville Live Music Festival, a three-day outdoor event in North Grenville, launched last year with a multitude of bands representing many musical genres. The inaugural event attracted 5,600 visitors -- 13 per cent more than expected. This included 2,400 visitors who travelled from over 40 kilometres away. The festival garnered a near 100 per cent satisfaction rating from artists, volunteers and patrons.
Kirkland Lake Homecoming was able to secure two major headline acts last summer, which is impressive for a community with a population of 8,500. The festival typically hosts one main concert during its homecoming event, but last year they sold out three concerts, attracting about three times as many people as in previous years.
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia's 2015 season met and surpassed its attendance goal for the two shows supported by Celebrate Ontario. Celebrate Ontario helped the playhouse attract more than $4.3 million in visitor spending with an estimated impact of $2.6 million in GDP in the Southwest Ontario Tourism Region.
The Collingwood Elvis Festival was able to increase first-time attendance from 30 per cent in 2014 to 45 per cent in 2015 because of Celebrate Ontario's contribution. Last year's goal was to increase first-time visitors through a targeted program, which included free tickets to a show, a first-timer friendly website and ambassador program, and expanded programming. The program boosted attendance, while 90 per cent of first-time attendees reported they are likely to return.
Pumpkinferno™ 2015 in Morrisburg had 30 awe-inspiring exhibits of over 6,000 artistically carved pumpkins, and attracted over 35,000 visitors, representing a 10 per cent increase from the previous year. Over 140,000 tourists have now visited this award-winning event at Upper Canada Village over the past four years, creating a vital new shoulder season of tourism activity in eastern Ontario. The event's appeal led to Pumpkinferno™ sister events at Dynamic Earth in Sudbury and Discovery Harbour in Penetanguishene.
Peterborough Musicfest draws over 100,000 people each year which generates economic activity in excess of $4 million. Celebrate Ontario supported the Festival to bring in higher calibre performers in 2015, which helped increase sponsorships by 22 per cent, and increase the percentage of tourists attending the event to 28 per cent. There are no economic or social barriers to attending the festival.